Our expert says:
Its rarely easy to be a step-parent, but it can be unnecessarily made very much harder by the failure of the bio-parents to co-operate for the benefit of the child and to avoid shoving their own bitterness into the child's life.
Within YOUR house ( where you and your now husband live ) YOUR rules count absolutely, just as if the child went on holiday to Spain, it'd have to obey Spanish law.
The mother is entitled to have different rules within her own home if she sincerely believes these involve very important issues, rather than being different manipulatively, so as to make trouble within your household.
The rules in your household should be agreed by both you and the biodad, and he should defend them absolutely hen his ex wants to make unnecessary trouble over them.
For the ex's to allow such needless conflict for the sake of getting back at each other, is a form of child abuse and strongly to be condemned.
In such a situation, caused by at least selfish and vindictive parent, most children are tempted to seize the opportunity and manipulate their elders for their own benefit, even simply to exercise a sense of power. It's not her fault.
Sit down and have a serious chat with your husband about how this is not tolerable and how he must work with you to devise a basic set of rules you both agree, and then make it totally clear to his ex that ONLY those rules apply within your shared house, and its none of his ex's business if these happen to difer from the rules she chooses for her own home
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